This month, I assembled the ingredients suggested to me and baked 2 really cool loaves of bread. One was with the traditional fillings recommended, and one was with other stuff. That is the extent of my daring-ness when baking. Look at the filling ingredients and switch them to other filling ingredients, often with the assistance of intrepid bakers who post notes about their varied success stories.
The traditional loaf uses walnuts, cocoa, and cinnamon for the filling. I used cashews instead, because I had them on hand and we love cashews. For the non-traditional loaf, we used cream cheese, jalapenos, cilantro, and tomatoes. It was pretty tasty. Like salsa bread.
And in an annoying turn of events, the SD card with all my photos somehow got crunched - dogs? cleaning people? shoe? - and I can't access anything on it. So I have exactly 1 photo of this bread, from the iPhone. I don't know what else I lost. I'm trying not to think about it.
Blog-checking lines: The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!
Makes two loaves, each 1.25 lbs
To activate the Yeast:1 tsp (4 ½ gm) sugar
½ tsp (1½ gm) all-purpose flour
¼ c (60 ml) warm water
1 Tbsp (7 gm/¼ oz) dry yeast
1 c whole milk
6 Tbsp (85 gm) sugar
1½ tsp (9 gm) salt
2 large eggs
¼ c (½ stick/2 oz) unsalted butter, melted
4 c (560 gm/1¼ lb) all-purpose flour, measure first then sift, divided
¼ c (60 ml) cold STRONG coffee
1 Tbsp (14 gm/½ oz) sugar
Filling Ingredients (enough filling for two loaves)
3½ c (560 gm/1¼ lb/20 oz) ground English walnuts
½ c (120 ml) whole milk
½ c (115 gm/1 stick/4 oz) unsalted butter
1 whole egg, beaten
½ tsp (2½ ml) vanilla extract
1 c (225 gm/8 oz) sugar
½ tsp (2 gm) unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp (1½ gm) cinnamon
To Activate Yeast:
1. In a small bowl, stir 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon flour, and the yeast into ½ cup warm water and cover with plastic wrap.
2. Allow to stand for 5 minutes
To Make the Dough:3. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk up to just below boiling (about 180°F/82°C), stirring constantly so that a film does not form on the top of the milk. You want it hot enough to scald you, but not boiling. Allow to cool slightly, until it is about 110°F/43°C.
4. In a large bowl, mix the scalded milk, ¾ cup (170 gm/6 oz) sugar, and the salt until combined.
5. Add the beaten eggs, yeast mixture, melted butter, and 2 cups (280 gm/10 oz) of flour.
6. Blend thoroughly and slowly add remaining flour, mixing well until the dough starts to clean the bowl.
7. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead, gradually adding flour a little at a time, until smooth and does not stick.
8. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces (they will each weigh about 1.25 pounds/565 grams)
9. Place dough in 4 lightly oiled bowls, cover loosely with a layer of plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel, and let rise an hour and a half in a warm place, until doubled in size.
To Make the Filling10. In a large bowl mix together the ground walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa.
11. Heat the milk and butter to boiling.
12. Pour the liquid over the nut/sugar mixture.
13. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
14. Allow to stand at room temperature until ready to be spread on the dough.
15. If the mixture thickens, add a small amount of warm milk.
To Roll and Assemble the Dough:16. Spread a clean sheet or cloth over your entire table so that it is covered.
17. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons to a handful of flour (use flour sparingly)
18. Place the dough on the sheet and roll the dough out with a rolling pin, starting in the middle and working your way out, until it measures roughly 10-12 inches (25½ cm by 30½ cm) in diameter.
19. Spoon 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of melted butter on top.
20. Using the tops of your hands, stretch dough out from the center until the dough is thin and uniformly opaque. You can also use your rolling pin, if you prefer.
21. As you work, continually pick up the dough from the table, not only to help in stretching it out, but also to make sure that it isn’t sticking.
22. When you think it the dough is thin enough, try to get it a little thinner. It should be so thin that you can see the color and perhaps the pattern of the sheet underneath.
23. Spoon filling evenly over dough until covered.
24. Lift the edge of the cloth and gently roll the dough like a jelly roll.
25. Once the dough is rolled up into a rope, gently lift it up and place it into a greased loaf pan in the shape of a “U”, with the ends meeting in the middle. You want to coil the dough around itself, as this will give the dough its characteristic look when sliced.
26. Repeat with second loaf, coiling each rope of dough in its own loaf pan.
27. Brush the top of each loaf with a mixture of ½ cup (120 ml) of cold STRONG coffee and 2 tablespoons (28 gm/1 oz) of sugar. If you prefer, you can also use egg whites in place of this.
28. Cover pans lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rest for approximately 15 minutes.
29. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
30. Remove plastic wrap from dough and place into the preheated oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes.
31. Turn down the oven temperature to 300°F/150°C and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until done.
32. Remove bread from oven and brush with melted butter.
33. Check the bread at 30 minutes to ensure that the bread is not getting too brown. You may cover the loaves with a sheet of aluminum foil if you need to.
34. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes, still in the bread pan. Remember, the bread weighs about 2.5 and it needs to be able to hold its own weight, which is difficult when still warm and fresh out of the oven. Allowing it to cool in the pan helps the loaf to hold its shape.
35. It is recommended that the best way to cut Povitica loaves into slices is by turning the loaf upside down and slicing with a serrated knife.